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Rockets star James Harden calls out referees to give them a ‘fair chance’

James Harden, Rockets

Suffice it to say, James Harden did not have his finest performance in the Houston Rockets’ 104-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Despite scoring 35 points, Harden shot 9-of-28 from the field and a measly 4-of-16 from the 3-point line, as Golden State pressured him all over the floor and extended him out to the perimeter.

However, Golden State seemed to have a little bit too much leverage in closing out on Harden’s shots, even appearing to slide underneath him on multiple occasions. Harden was knocked to the floor on his game-tying 3-point try at the end of the game, but there was no foul call.

The Rockets superstar seemed disgruntled by the aggressive close-outs during the postgame, imploring the referees to be more aware and blow the whistle.

Of course, the messenger here is the NBA’s leader in free throws attempted and free throws made this season, and Harden’s ability to draw fouls has almost become something of a controversial topic amongst fans and opposing players.

Moreover, James Harden was actually sent to the line on numerous occasions Sunday afternoon, making 13 of 14 attempts from the charity stripe.

However, he makes a fair point bringing up Kawhi Leonard. It refers to a close-out that then-Warriors center Zaza Pachulia made on Leonard during Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, which led to Leonard re-injuring a sprained ankle and missing the rest of the series.

The NBA actually instituted a “Zaza Pachulia” rule in response to close-outs deemed to be “dangerous” to the shooter’s ability to safely land after rising up for jump shots. Needless to say, this will certainly be a topic of discussion should Harden continue to be undercut in Game 2.